Corel discontinued all Linux-related operations shortly after Microsoft Corporation's major investment that prevented the firm's collapse: Some speculate a causal relationship. Corel may have also seen WP for Linux sales (and downloads) as being at the expense of its versions for non-Linux Unixes, through both the influx of Intel Linux boxes and other Unix platforms' increasing ability to run Intel Linux binaries. Also, outgoing CEO Michael Cowpland had been the main force behind Corel's Linux program, and new management doesn't share his views.
Good question. Corel has never addressed the matter.
It appears not. When Corel divested itself of CLOS, and transferred all rights to Xandros Corporation, WordPerfect was not part of the deal. Corel is sitting on all WP rights.
First, that would impair sales of Corel's versions for Win32 and other proprietary platforms. Second, Corel doesn't own all the necessary rights. WP includes code from at least five other companies, judging by the copyright notices (Blueberry Software, Globetrotter Software, Inc., Bristol Technology, Inc., INSO Corporation, and Novell, Inc.).
In the latter sense, Corel's situation is similar to that of Sun Microsystems in regard to Star Office. Sun bought the publisher of that program, Star Division GmbH, and then spent approximately a year and untold employee time studying copyright, patent, contract, and other encumbrances. Eventually, it was able to open-source the majority of the source code, the part not encumbered by third-party rights, as what became the OpenOffice.org project.
The difference is that Sun was strongly motivated to create an open-source variant for all possible OS platforms -- in order to feed sales of Solaris and its hardware, and to undermine Microsoft Corporation. It had (and has) deep resources and patience. Corel had none of those things -- and might have had greater third-party interests to contend with.
Proprietary (see also Chris Browne's http://cbbrowne.com/info/wplcomm.html):
Sun Microsystems Star Office very comprehensive office suite's StarWriter word processor. Very full featured, high degree of Microsoft compatibility. Large; slow-loading, but then performs OK. GTK+-based. No .wpd support in the Linux version.
VistaSource Software Anyware Office / Anyware Desktop suite's (was Applix's ApplixWare Office) Anyware Words word processor. Moderately good all-round office suite with a long history in the Unix world. OK performance, stable, good MS doc compatibility. Motif-based. Includes .wpd support. Some earlier versions were sold by Red Hat Software, Inc. as ApplixWare for Red Hat Linux. For a while, SuSE Linux AG sold ApplixWare v. 4.4.1, bundled with the ADABAS D relational database, the Arkeia backup program, and SuSE-packaged versions of The GIMP, GNOME, and KDE as Linux Office Suite 99.
SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd. SOT Office suite's SOT Office Writer. Based on the open-source OpenOffice.org suite, adding some software enhancements (added spelling checker and hyphenation dictionaries, templates, commercial support, enhanced on-line help, and PDF manual). Available in a boxed set with printed docs. The proprietary bundle includes updates not yet available for the separate, all-open-source SOT Office bundle. All other remarks about OpenOffice.org also apply here.
Redmond Linux Corporation Lycoris ProductivityPak office suite. A superset of the open-source OpenOffice.org suite, plus an improved setup program, aesthetics tweaks, typeface installer, templates, some graphics including Lycoris logos / icon sets, and paid technical support. Licence permits use on a single computer in commercial settings, and for multiple computers in non-commercial settings. There's no limitation on multiuser use (rare among proprietary office-productivity packages on Linux). No .wpd support.
HancomLinux, Inc. Hancom Office suite's Hancom Word word processor. Qt-based. Good MS doc compatibility. No .wpd support.
Quadraton Systems, Inc. CliqWord. Character-based (console) office automation software. Listed here only because Chris Browne includes it, as I'm not at all sure it belongs in this category. No import / export facilities whatsoever that I can confirm.
SmartWare Corporation (formerly Angoss Software Corporation) SmartWare. Existing codebase is a character-based (console) office suite. Currently (January 2003), the character-based v. 2.65B of SmartWare Plus is back on the market, while a Linux port of the new, graphical SmartWare4 codebase with improved installer is being prepared. Strengths include vertical-application support, robustness in multiuser situations, and bundled rapid application development tools.
Ability Plus Software, Ltd.'s Ability Linux, a Linux port of the Win32 Ability suite (Photopaint, Spreadsheet, Write and Database), running as what is claimed to be native-Linux code with WINE library support. Currently available free of charge as alpha-release code. Unique internal design: interpreted code using a runtime engine / library called MFC. MFC is what has been recoded to run as a Linux application with WINE library calls. Supports .wpd, RTF, HTML, MS doc, AmiPro.
FreeRadicalSoftware, Inc. (formerly Gobe Software) GobeProductive suite (announced but not shipped for Linux, except as a pre-alpha-test "Preview1" version, formerly downloadable from http://www.gobe.com/downloads/gobe_linux_x86_install.tgz and http://www.gobe.com/downloads/gobe_linux_ppc_install.tgz. Produced by the team that did ClarisWorks / AppleWorks. Frame-oriented. Light, fast. Full-featured. Supports MS-Word, RTF. No .wpd support. (FreeRadicalSoftware announced on August 12, 2002 plans to open-source the entire suite under the GNU GPL, but then in December 2002 had to announce that sufficient funds -- about US $100k -- couldn't be raised to license the source code.) Discontinued.
Sophist Solutions, Inc. LedIt word processor. Small, fast. GTK+-based. Supports RTF. No .wpd support.
SoftMaker Software GmbH TextMaker for Linux is the initial component of the planned SoftMaker Office Anywhere suite. Fast, light. Full-featured. Supports MS-Word, Pocket Word, RTF, HTML, Unicode. No .wpd support.
ThinkFree Corp.'s ThinkFree Office is an integrated word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics application available in Java bytecode. Accordingly, it requires the Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.1.8 or later. Supports MS-Word, HTML, RTF formats. No .wpd support.
Note: If this FAQ has a point beyond answering questions, it is to illustrate the pitfall of buying into proprietary software that exists at the whim of a corporate publisher and may be hostage to its fortunes. On the other hand, it also shows that proprietary offerings can be excellent of their types. Choose with your eyes open.
Open Source (see also Chris Browne's http://cbbrowne.com/info/wp.html):
OpenOffice.org very comprehensive office suite's Writer word processor (derived from Star Office). GTK+-based. Frame-oriented. Large; slow-loading, but then performs OK. Supports MS-Word, StarWriter, RTF, and a few other formats. (The v. 1.1 beta adds PDF, DocBook, Macromedia Flash, flat XML, XHTML, and some PDA Office formats.) Excellent MS doc compatibility. No integrated .wpd support, yet, but there's a project to develop a filter at http://wp.openoffice.org/, and, more immediately useful, a third-party filter and .wpd-handling library at http://libwpd.sourceforge.net/.
SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd. SOT Office suite's SOT Office Writer. Based on OpenOffice.org, adding some software enhancements (added spelling checker and hyphenation dictionaries, templates, optional commercial support, enhanced on-line help and PDF manual). Available in a boxed set with printed docs. As an alternative, there is also a proprietary SOT Office bundle that includes software updates. All other remarks about OpenOffice.org also apply here.
SourceGear Corporation AbiWord. GTK+-based. Table support is only now being added. Fast, light, stable. Supports MS-Word, Anyware Words / Applix Words, AbiWord, RTF, WordPerfect .wpd, Microsoft Write, DocBook, XHTML, and many other formats. Excellent MS doc compatibility. With v. 2.x and up, AbiWord uses the promising libwpd .wpd import / export filter, though you may have to install an abiword-plugins package.
KDE KOffice suite's KWord word processor. Frame-oriented. Qt-based. Supports MS-Word, Anyware Words / Applix Words, AbiWord formats. Medium-good MS doc compatibility. Beta-level text-only .wpd support in recent (1.2.x) versions.
SIAG Office suite's Pathetic Writer word processor. Supports RTF. Supports MS-Word via WVware. Athena-based. No .wpd support.
Maxwell word processor. Motif-based (not yet LessTif). Supports RTF. No .wpd support. Inactive project since 1998, though one of the three past maintainers speaks of an intention to make one final release merging various fixes and transitioning from Maxwell's native binary data format to RTF.
FLWriter (Fast Light Writer). XHTML file format with UTF-8 encoding, excellent multi-language support, spelling checker. Exports RTF 1.5. No .wpd support.
Ted. Simple word processor similar in spirit to MS-Windows's WordPad. RTF is native format. Motif / LessTif-based, or GTK+ and glib-based. Supports PDF, PostScript. No .wpd support.
GWP (GNOME Word Processor). GTK+ / GNOME-based editor formerly known as XWord, when it was Hungry Programmers' Motif / LessTif-based project. Intended for XML-based structured documents, and uses an XML-based file format. Project appears to be neglected in favour of AbiWord, and may be effectively unmaintained. Light, somewhat feature-shy. No .wpd support.
CMU Andrew User Interface System (auis) package's EZ editor mode. Uses a well-thought-out system of ASCII + style / template markup. Supports RTF. No .wpd support. Development seems to have ceased as of 1997 (arguably because it meets its design goals).
Axene, Inc. Xclamation (DTP) and XAllWrite (word processor) programs. Motif / Lesstif-based. GPLed C++ source code available at http://xibios2.free.fr/. Supports its own format, HTML, and ASCII; no .wpd support.
Scribus. Qt-based destkop publishing program reminiscent of Adobe PageMaker (not a word processor, per se). File format is XML-based. Appears to import unformatted text, only.
LyX (slick graphical front-end to LaTeX). Implements ASCII + TeX markup in a quasi-WYSIWYG graphical environment. You write structured documents (discussed below), but the process is made graphical and fairly easy. Produces reliable, high-quality output. Excellent built-in help. Supports LinuxDoc, DocBook, LaTeX, PostScript, DVI, ASCII. XForms or Qt-based, with GTK+ integration pending. No .wpd support.
The last item listed, LyX, is an intriguing hybrid of GUI word processor features and classic Unix-type document processing. The latter is often dismissed in the business world as powerful and professional but too arcane -- but LyX makes it accessible.
The rationale and work-flow approach behind LyX are best described on that project's Web site at http://www.lyx.org/about/intro.php3, but here's an attempt to summarise:
LyX has you work on a document in a graphical, close approximation of how it will print, but, unlike in traditional word processors, you don't directly manipulate document appearance, but rather apply (and edit / create) style rulesets (templates), which consistently apply formatting on your behalf -- and change consistently wherever used in the document, when you alter a style's contents. (Rulesets are applied by the LaTeX front-end macro package driving the professional-grade teTeX typesetting engine, for all of which LyX is a graphical shell. teTeX is an open-source implementation of Donald Knuth's TeX typesetting system.)
As a result, eventual output is always consistent and of true professional appearance (famously so), regardless of the document's complexity. LyX becomes progressively easier to use than ostensibly simpler word processors as you get into more-complex documents (technical documentation, doctoral theses, conference proceedings, movie scripts, articles on mathematics or physics with formulas to edit and present). Many templates for both simple and complex document types are provided, all traditional word-processing features are also present, and so is extremely thorough on-line help.
As a bonus, all documents are stored in plain ASCII text with embedded TeX style tags, resulting in accessible data that will never auto-corrupt the way many word-processor formats do, that lends itself nicely to version control, and that outputs to practically any data format desired.
Consider transitioning to LyX or some other form of structured-document editing instead of traditional word processing, over the long term. Your benefits over the long haul will justify the trouble.
Such alternatives are outside the scope of this document, but include (1) the numerous ways of running Win32 applications on Linux in some sort of emulation environment, such as VMware, Inc.'s VMware (simulation in a virtual environment of a particular theoretical x86 box's hardware, which then can boot various OSes including Win9x / ME / NT / 2k / XP within the emulated environment, necessitating a copy of that OS, as well), NeTraverse's Win4Lin (an MS-Windows 9x / ME emulation environment for x86 Linux, requiring a copy of MS-Windows 9x / ME to work), WINE (an LGPLed library and program loader implementing on x86 Unixes the Win32 and Win16 application interfaces), ReWind (an MIT / X11-licensed fork of an earlier WINE release), CodeWeavers's CrossOver Office (WINE with some extra support for MS Office applications, incorporating the formerly separate CrossOver Plugin product, a WINE variant for x86 Linux to support Web browser plugins such as QuickTime), TransGaming Technologies, Inc.'s WineX, later renamed AclereX, later renamed Cedega (another WINE extension for x86 Linux, with enhanced DirectX and COM / DCOM / OLE support, primarily for 3D games), the Bochs Project's Bochs (software environment for any CPU family emulating an entire x86 CPU, common I/O devices, and BIOS), and Drew Northup's Plex86 (software environment emulating on x86 a virtual x86 session).
There are also (2) the numerous ways of remotely running Win32 applications from a graphical Linux desktop, such as RealVNC Limited's VNC Server, Constantin Kaplinsky's TightVNC, Tridia Corporation's TridiaVNC, and Matt Chapman's rdesktop. I maintain a listing of options in the latter category.